The Emerging Black Importers and Exporters of South Africa (EBieSA) is calling on the domestic poultry industry to urgently implement the transformation commitments contained in the Poultry Master Plan.
“To date, far fewer than 50 black contract farmers have been helped to secure access to market, a pitiful number when compared to the vast number of black farmers in South Africa.
“These desperate farmers are unable to open the door, because the key is being held by a small group of oligopolistic producers who are doing virtually nothing to transform their own ownership,” states EBieSA chairperson Unati Speirs.
Speirs says that this is despite what was agreed on in the Poultry Master Plan, and which was signed by the local poultry industry and President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2019.
“As soon as any measure to drive transformation is raised, the local industry counters this by saying it will lead to job losses. We see this as nothing more than a diversion strategy and amounts to blackmail,” Speirs notes.
EBieSA has also made a submission to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), warning that further tariffs on imports could impact on food security for the poorest in South Africa.
The submission was made in response to the DTIC’s Poultry Tariff Structure Review.
“We are afraid that the DTIC’s new poultry tariff structure could increase tariffs through specific tariffs rather than ad valorem, which could further increase applied tariffs more than the current bounded tariff of 82%.
“Specific tariffs are not preferred as they would be for certain cuts or from certain sources and potentially exceed the bounded rate,” Speirs says.
The DTIC recommends that there is an 80:20 split between locally produced and imported goods. The poultry industry is already compliant in this regard.
Currently, South Africa only imports 20% of poultry consumed in the country, a vast proportion of which is mechanically deboned meat, which cannot be produced in substantial amounts in South Africa.
Imports are necessary as domestic producers are unable to produce enough volume to meet consumption demands, argues EBieSA.